My post on the attempted terrorist attack on the Christmas flight into Detroit beat on the officials who, in the aftermath, put numerous ridiculous restrictions into place that in no way improved security for the flying public but did manage to make the miserable experience that commercial flying has become into a more miserable experience.
My theory was that having done little to nothing meaningful to improve real security in airports since the tragedy of 911 they had to come up with some kind of a short-term plan to convince the world that in actual fact they had a handle on the situation. Their solution was to come up with a lot of dumbass restrictions on the paying customers that would make air travel so inconvenient and so difficult that the flying public could only assume that their new rules and regulations had merit. After all, why would anyone deliberately make your life that miserable for no good reason?
But then I looked at the killings on the Fort Hood army base in Texas by another terrorist and the security measures that were put in place after it was over.
There is a pattern.
On November 5, this year, an army psychiatrist, Major Nidal Malik went on the Fort Hood army base and shot and killed 13 people and wounded 30 more. He was stopped by the courageous action of a female police officer, the first armed responder, who engaged Malik and with the help of a 2nd officer put him out of commission, although she was wounded as well in exchange. Malik lived.
As the investigation of the event progressed it was discovered that Malik had sent e-mails to a radical Yeman cleric where discussed the killing of American soldiers by Muslims serving in the US forces. This information was intercepted by US Intelligence who passed it on the the army, but nothing further was done.
There were other hints as well.
There was the classroom presentation that justified suicide bombings. Comments to colleagues about a climate of persecution faced by Muslims in the military. Conversations with a mosque leader that became incoherent.
Danquah assumed the military’s chain of command knew about Hasan’s doubts, which had been known for more than a year to classmates in a graduate military medical program. His fellow students complained to the faculty about Hasan’s “anti-American propaganda,” but said a fear of appearing discriminatory against a Muslim student kept officers from filing a formal written complaint.
There were problems, people knew there were problems and nothing was done.
So when the facts were in and all was said and done, what solution did the military come up with to make sure nothing like this could happen again on the Fort Hood army base?
Fort Hood officials announced Thursday a new command policy regarding registration requirements for privately-owned firearms was signed into effect Tuesday by Lt. Gen. Robert Cone, III Corps and Fort Hood commander.
The policy, and Fort Hood Regulation 190-11, requires all service members and their families living, residing or temporarily staying at Fort Hood to register any privately-owned firearms kept on post with the Directorate of Emergency Services, a Fort Hood press release states.
The announcement comes more than a month after the Nov. 5 massacre on post claimed the lives of 13 and injured more than 30 – victims were shot by a soldier using a privately-owned firearm.
The new policy details how soldiers, family members and even civilians must go about reporting privately-owned weapons being taken on post.
“Service members living in barracks or in post temporary housing must notify their immediate commander of the possession of POFs and keep the weapon in their respective unit arms room in accordance with Army Regulation 190-11 and Fort Hood Regulation 190-11,” the policy reads.
Under the new policy, service members and their families living, residing or temporarily staying at Fort Hood are required to immediately notify DES of any “sale, purchase, trade, gift, exchange or any other action that changes the ownership or long-term possession of a POF kept on the installation.”
Besides detailing the responsibilities of service members, the policy additionally states that “all persons, whether service member or civilian, who intend to transport a privately-owned firearm onto Fort Hood must first register that firearm with DES.”
It goes on to state that when entering Fort Hood, all persons are required to declare to access control point personnel that they are bringing a privately-owned firearm onto the installation.
“POFs being transported onto Fort Hood will, at all times, be accompanied by post registration documentation and are subject to inspection,” the policy states.
The announcement Thursday specified that the new policy is “punitive in nature” and applies to all III Corps and Fort Hood service members, major subordinate units, tenant activities and family members across Fort Hood.
In the aftermath of a tragedy that was begun by an army officer who came on to the base with the sole intent of murdering as many people as possible and was only stopped by the arrival of two armed police officers, the army’s solution is to crack down on legitimate gun ownership on the base.
Unlike the new restrictions on the flying public that would inconvenience them even further while actually providing no increase in actual security, the army brass went one step further. Their new security regulations would ensure that a terrorist of the same ilk as Hasan would again have the opportunity to gun down his comrades with impunity until hopefully someone who was allowed to be armed on the base came forward to stop the carnage.
If this is the clearheaded military thinking that is leading the troops in Afghanistan and Iraq then the troops are in serious trouble.
Unfortunately, “the obvious” solution is not necessarily the easy solution; anyone who tries to create a culture that demands loyalty and willingness to follow orders in the U.S. military will certainly face charges of fascism, McCarthyism, racism, and any other -ism that seems likely to damage a reputation. Although there’s still time for more substantial changes to be made, Fort Hood’s new regulations are worrisome signs that the powers that be think they can avoid doing the hard work of getting rid of terrorists in their own midst if only they make a convincing show of cracking down on the weapon the last terrorist used . . . but even if the next terrorist grants us the courtesy of doing only what he saw on TV the last time, it’s hard to see how that could be enough.
All of which leads me to modify my thinking to accept the fact that there is probably no deviousness in the new airline regulations nor the Fort Hood gun rules. I think, as the author of the Examiner article says, there is a natural inclination to look for the easy solution but apparently little to no ability to analyze that solution to assess whether it will actually have any effect on the problem. And there is absolutely no inclination to try and deal with the realities.
It is always easier and safer to penalize the innocents and simply ignore those that cause the problem.